NEW YORK U.S. Steel Corp.
management in Canada has responded publicly to locked-out
United Steelworkers union members outside its Nanticoke,
Ontario, operations, saying that its latest labor proposal was
fair and competitive.
"U.S. Steel Canada seeks nothing
more than a competitive agreement. That was the basis for the
fair and balanced final offer that we presented to the union on
April 15," Trevor Harris, U.S. Steel Canadas director of
government and public affairs, wrote in an opinion piece
published in the Hamilton Spectator. "We did not
propose to cut wages or slash benefits. .. Not a single
employee would have made one cent less than they are making
today as a result of our companys offer. In fact, most
would have received a raise from the revised wage structure
that was part of the proposal."
Nearly 1,000 unionized workers
at the Pittsburgh-based steelmakers Lake Erie Works were
locked out April 28 after labor contract negotiations between
the two parties failed (
amm.com, April 29). The previous three-year
contract expired April 16.
The union could not be reached
for comment, but USW Local 8782 president Bill Ferguson said in
a video posted to YouTube two days after the lockout began that
the union had fundamental issues with the contract.
"U.S. Steel has come back and
told us that youre not going to lose one penny by voting
for that agreement. ... We know that what they offered us is
going to cost us money. When they take away your holiday pay,
it costs you money. When they take away your (cost of living
allowances), it costs you money," he said.
U.S. Steel denied allegations
that the proposed contract would cut wages or slash benefits.
The company said that "not one employee would have ended up
with any fewer days of vacation than they enjoy today."
"The represented employees at
Lake Erie Works enjoy some of the highest, if not the highest,
wage rates among steel manufacturing workers in North America,"